Directing Against the Grain


The movie industry has given up making films for the sake of creating pure art in exchange for the opportunity to make a lot of money. Films that could be more authentic and compelling are commercialized and predictable. Movies that should be darker and grittier become languid and transparent.  Every movie that is being made is rated PG-13 to appeal to the largest audience possible rather than being completed where it is the best full project. Directors are being handicapped instead of being encouraged to create the best movie that they are capable of submitting. Pushing directors to explore their artistic expression could reinvigorate an industry that is now failing to captivate its audiences through its craft. In the time periods where art is suffering most, directors should be forced to attempt movies that fall outside of their comfort zone.

Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh’s films usually deal with the interaction and societal repercussions of the human condition. Movies like Traffic, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, and Erin Brockovich showed his ability to display the physical and emotional ties that bond people while developing his plot. This is why Soderbergh should try his hand at a romantic comedy. With the right actors and a good script, Soderbergh could make a compelling, intelligent comedy like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Love Actually. He excels at converging separate story lines into a flowing conclusion, and he is adept at showing the effects of peoples’ relationships with one another. Comedy would suit him.

Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky has a visually stunning style that mixes harsh emotional distress into awkward social situations. He uses flawed characters to drive his stories, and his resolutions are always spectacular but often bittersweet. Aronofsky needs to direct a western with the screenplay written by Clint Eastwood. The dark way that Aronofsky directs and the way that he displays sex on film would be perfect for the old west. The Old West was a difficult, dirty place to live. It was place where prudishness and lasciviousness walked hand in hand. Sex was taboo, but could be found on the streets. Darren Aronofsky uses both stressful and contrasting situational cues and the consequent emotional turmoil of his characters to create tense scenes and dramatic finishes. In the Wild West, people faced death on a daily basis.  Gunfights, sex with unclean prostitutes, and the lack of proper medical treatment caused high mortality rates and created stressful environments for people. This setup is perfect for Aronofsky. Plus, Clint Eastwood grew up starring in westerns so he could write a compelling storyline in his sleep. He could write a story about honor and respect that Aronofsky could shape into a darker, moving film.

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg needs to direct an “end of days” movie. His eye for cinematography and his capacity for telling the entirety of stories would serve him well. Spielberg is one of the few directors who excels at parlaying the human condition through his camera while giving a great, entrancing plot line. He shows his characters’ moments of awe, despair, hopelessness, and amazement through close-ups and changing camera angles. He connects his audiences with those characters through great dialogue and sound plot development. Where other directors have failed because of focusing solely on the situation of the characters, Spielberg would succeed by telling the story of the characters in the situation. Plus, his ability to move between the gut-wrenching and heart-warming moments in his movies stand unparalleled amongst his peers. Only Steven Spielberg

Guiellermo Del Toro

Guiellermo Del Toro should try his hand at Greek mythology. His ability to give an authentic and realistic scope to fairy tale stories would serve him well in Greek Mythology. Very few directors can make a fluid connection between normalized characters and fantasy creatures. Del Toro is one of them. His work in movies like Pan’s Labyrinth and the Hell Boy series express the humanistic approach that he takes in telling stories about things that are decidedly supernatural. He could make an epic story from a mythological storyline. Greek mythology shares the tales of the Gods who behave like men despite their divinity. Because Del Toro relays the emotion of his characters well and could probably create believable adaptations of the Greek Gods, he could also appropriately espouse the bickering that the Gods in Greek Mythology have amongst themselves and the resulting difficulty that their followers have serving them.

Peter Jackson 

Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, needs to try his hand an epic like Alexander or anything that is Grecian or Roman. He has shown a real affinity towards storytelling and displayed a talent for choreographing battle scenes. Jackson creates powerful and layered characters through dialogue and plot and drives his story with those characters. His protagonists in Lord of the Rings were flawed, but their distinct good and bad character traits also carried them through their trials. With these types of apropos plot lines, Jackson ties together ideas of destiny versus direction and makes his movies more than just a simple story about complex characters, but an allegory to life. In Grecian and Roman history, most of the great leaders were flawed characters who achieved greatness. And, they each had several lessons that are still applicable in modern times. Jackson could make a great biopic that stands above all the movies that were made before it.

Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle should direct a movie about the Inquisition or a movie about the Salem Witch Trials. Boyle is adept at showing the human condition when stressed under uncertain conditions. In movies like 28 Days Later, he showed the chaos that spurns from a rage virus that was accidentally released onto the public. The rage virus infection was extremely contagious and caused people to become irrational, violent, and most importantly cannibalistic. This zombie virus was spread through the exchange of fluids, specifically through bites of the infected, and the result of the epidemic spread of the virus was the abandonment of physical residence and of culture. People fell into a primal, carnal state when their government failed them and began to turn on each other. In the end, the panicked public killed nearly as many people as the zombies. The Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials were both marked by widespread panic. Each was set in a time when people followed their leaders blindly and were exploited because of that. Boyle could lucidly show the chaos that explodes as a result of fear and ignorance.


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